Coolidge, Shea expected to vie for DGA prexy post

Martha Coolidge and Jack Shea are among the candidates expected to be in the running to succeed Gene Reynolds as president of the Directors Guild of America.

Reynolds, who has been president since 1993, and whose term expires in June when delegates meet at the DGA national convention, is not seeking another term.Coolidge said she is making plans to run. She played a major part in the DGA’s creative rights negotiations with producers last year. Along with John Frankenheimer, she co-chairs the guild’s ongoing creative rights committee, which meets periodically with producers.

Shattering glass ceiling

If elected, Coolidge would be the guild’s first woman president. In 1993, she became the first woman elected national VP of the guild, and the first woman nominated to the post of president. (Reynolds was elected that year). She currently serves as first VP of the guild.

“It is a very big commitment, but I see it as a very rewarding experience,” said Coolidge, who is in post-production on “Out to Sea.” Her other credits include “Rambling Rose” and “Valley Girl.”

According to sources, Shea also is among the expected candidates. He played a major role in economic negotiations last year, and most recently was elected to the post of secretary treasurer, succeeding the late Sheldon Leonard.

Merging directors

Shea had been the guild’s third VP before that, and is a longtime board member of the guild. His credits include a long list of TV sitcoms such as “Sanford & Son” and “Designing Women,” and he was president of the Radio and Television Directors Guild in 1960 when he helped negotiate its merger with the Screen Directors Guild to create the DGA. He received the guild’s Robert Aldrich Award in 1992.

To be sure, the election is still far off, and the entire lineup of candidates may not be entirely clear until the DGA’s convention on June 7. Names are then submitted in nomination, and then selected by a group of about 100 delegates.

A DGA spokesman said the guild does not comment on the election until after it takes place. Officers and board members also will be chosen at the convention.

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